Court Discusses and Applies the “Single Employer” Doctrine in ADEA Discrimination Case

In Goldman v. Sol Goldman Investments, LLC, et al., 20-cv-06727, 2021 WL 4198253 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 14, 2021), the court held that plaintiff sufficiently alleged that named defendant Sol Goldman Investments was plaintiff’s “employer” for purposes of his claims under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and the New York State and City Human Rights Laws.

Initially, the court held that the issue of whether the defendant is an “employer” within the meaning of the ADEA is not “jurisdictional,” and therefore reviewed defendants’ motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), rather than under Rule 12(b)(1).

As to that issue, the court explained:

Plaintiff has plausibly alleged facts that, if true, could demonstrate that SGI and Solil were a single integrated employer. Plaintiff alleges that his job as an attorney was to provide legal services with respect to these hundreds of commercial and real estate properties managed by SGI. Solil, according to Plaintiff, did not own or manage any of these properties, or generate any revenue of its own. To the contrary, Plaintiff alleges the entity was created solely to handle payroll functions and pay the salaries for individuals who work for SGI, including Plaintiff. These allegations, accepted as true for the purposes of this motion, could demonstrate that SGI and Solil were inextricably intertwined in terms of functional operations. Moreover, Plaintiff has also plausibly alleged common ownership and management. Both companies, Plaintiff alleges, are co-owned and controlled by the same individual, Defendant Jane Goldman. Plaintiff alleges that she “directs” and “personally controls” the day-to-day operations of both SGI and Solil, that she assigned and supervised Plaintiff’s work, and that she had the power to hire and fire employees, including ultimately firing Plaintiff. That is sufficient to demonstrate that labor relations for both entities were centrally controlled.

Based on this, the court concluded that plaintiff plausibly alleged that both companies were a single integrated employer for the purposes of his ADEA, NYSHRL, and NYCHRL claims.

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